No decision expected after Scottish cabinet debates same-sex marriage

Cardinal Keith O'Brien says a referendum on marriage is needed as much as an independence vote.

Consultation to end on same-sex marriage
Istock

The Scottish Government has not reached a decision on same-sex marriage following a cabinet meeting to discuss the issue.

Senior members of the SNP government met at the First Minister's official residence at Bute House in Edinburgh on Tuesday but it is understood they did not reach a decision on how to take the issue forward.

It comes amid calls from the Catholic Church to hold a referendum on the issue because of "intense public interest" in the issue.

The Equality Network, a group which campaigns for same-sex marriage rights, said the Scottish Government should reject the call because such a move would "go against the core principles of Scotland's representative democracy".

The proposal to legalise marriage between couples of the same sex resulted in the biggest response to any government consultation, with almost 80,000 responses, and ignited a debate between supporters of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights and the Catholic Church.

At the start of the consultation, which closed in December, the Scottish Government said it "tends towards the view" that same-sex marriage should be introduced, although faith groups and their celebrants should not be obliged to solemnise the ceremonies.

Tom French, policy co-ordinator for the Equality Network, said: "If there was a nationwide referendum, conducted fairly, we are sure that Scots would vote for equality for same-sex couples. But that is not the way Scottish democracy works. Our MSPs were elected on clear manifesto commitments to consider the evidence, and decide, and we have confidence in them to do that.

"A referendum would be un-Scottish, unfair and a colossal waste of taxpayers' money."

Scotland for Marriage - which opposes proposals to extend the definition to same-sex couples - said the Equality Network was "running scared" of a referendum on the issue.

A spokesman for the campaign said: "If they believe their own hype, if they believe their own polls, they should have the guts to put it to a vote. Their rejection of a referendum shows that, for all their talk, they know most people don't agree with them."

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, pointed out on Monday that the marriage consultation received three times as many responses as the Scottish Government's consultation on the independence referendum, which saw more than 26,000 people share their views.

He said: "Clearly, if it is sensible to hold a referendum on independence, it is crucial that we have one on marriage. It is the only way the country can move forward on this issue. Let all those who have a view on this subject place their trust in the Scottish people and let Scotland decide."

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
ShowHide
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.